This salad is gorgeous! The combination of sweet caramelised honey pumpkin, salty feta and tart balsamic vinegar is a dreamy match. Although the flavours are quite simple, they compliment each other well – it's seemingly fancy, but super simple to throw together.
Pumpkin is a beautiful food. Its deep-orange hue is indicative of it being a rich source of the plant-based pigment beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Aside from being a key player in healthy eye sight, skin and immunity, this nutrient is also a powerful antioxidant that helps fight damaging free-radicals within, which may otherwise cause accelerated aging and cellular damage - for outer beauty and skin health, eat your colourful fruit and veggies! Nutrition is truly the most effective beauty treatment available, and beats any skin cream, lotion or potion.
I used baby spinach as the base of this salad, which is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, particularly vitamin K, essential for blood clotting, and vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant needed for wound healing and skin health. Spinach also contains high amounts of the plant compounds lutein and zeaxanthin, which may help block, or even reverse, damage cause by the sun to our eyes – so basically between the pumpkin and the spinach, a serving of this salad will keep your eyes veeeery happy!
I love adding toasted pine nuts to this salad, toasting really intensifies their flavour and adds a glorious crunch to the dish. It’s really simple to do too, just place the nuts in a dry fry pan over a medium-low heat and stir frequently until they begin to turn a light golden brown colour. Toasting using a pan is quicker than using the oven, although the downside is the nuts may quickly burn if you don’t keep an eye on them, so try not to multitask too much! Not only are pine nuts rich in the muscle-relaxing mineral magnesium, but they also contain one of the highest sources of protein found in nuts.
Honey Roasted Pumpkin, Feta and Spinach Salad
1kg of pumpkin or around 1/2 butternut pumpkin
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp runny honey
Sprinkle of salt
4 cups baby spinach leaves
75g crumbly feta cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
2. Prepare pumpkin - scoop out the inner seeds and discard, chop pumpkin into small chunks and slice off skin. Aim for pieces to be similar sized. Place pumpkin into a mixing bowl.
3. Mix together 1 tbsp of olive oil and the honey. Drizzle the honey-oil mixture over the pumpkin and use hands to evenly coat each piece. Place pumpkin onto a baking tray and lightly season with salt.
4. Roast pumpkin for around 40-50 minutes or until soft on the inside and caramelised on the outside. Once cooked remove from oven and leave to cool.
5. Place a small frypan onto the stove and turn onto a low-medium heat. When the pan is warm add the pine nuts and toast until lightly browned. This may take a few minutes - make sure to keep and eye on the pan and jiggle it while toasting to ensure the pine nuts brown evenly and don't burn.
6. Place baby spinach into a bowl/on a salad platter. Add pumpkin and toasted pine nuts. Crumble over the feta cheese. Drizzle over the 2 tbsp olive oil and balsamic vingear, and mix well. Enjoy!